Our Closest Celebrity Neighbor
Anna Mary Robertson(better known as “Grandma Moses”) born September 7, 1860 in Greenwich, New York. Beginning in 1872 Grandma Moses left home to make a living as a “hired girl” and cared for the sick. On November 9, 1887 she married a farmer, Thomas Solmon Moses. They left New York on a wedding trip heading for North Carolina to manage a horse ranch. But they were “over persuaded to go no further south” than Virginia. They rented a farm near Staunton, Virginia for a year to see if they would like the south. Folks were overly anxious for northerners or westerners to move in and build up the State.
After one year they moved further down the Valley onto a six hundred acre dairy farm. Grandma Moses began making butter in pound prints and shipping it to White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia. She also made a novelty product called potato chips. Meanwhile their ten children were born and there they left five little graves in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. In 1905 they returned to New York State and bought a farm.
By 1920 Grandma Moses painted a landscape fireplace screen, devoted more time to embroidered worsted pictures and painted many small landscape pictures always drawing on ideas and memories from her country days and experiences in New York and Virginia. Some of Grandma Moses artwork is directly linked to scenes in Virginia and her farm house remains on the hill above our location.
By 1949 Grandma Moses was honored at the White House by Harry S. Truman and presented with the Women’s National Press Club Award “for outstanding accomplishment in art”. Upon her death December 13, 1961 then President John F. Kennedy stated “…Both her life and her work helped the nation renew its pioneer heritage and recall its roots in the countryside and on the frontier.”
Excerpts from Otto Kallir